Versus: The love I remember

Two people sitting on a bench.

He turns to her. “If this is what addiction is about, then I can understand why it could be a problem. But for me, addicted to you is the only cure for loneliness I could have hoped for.”

“Just a touch, from the tip of you finger, and I feel connected.” She raises a finger in the air.

“And I, connected to you.” He mirrors her finger and they touch. “Sitting here, heady from the smell of you, it fills me with such longing to hold you even closer.”

“And when your fingertip leaves me, the sense of loss crashes over me like a wave. But then I just have to look into your eyes…” She gazes intently.

He stares back. “And I into your eyes, and the universe swells with my love for you.”

“Hold my hand, and I’ll hold your heart,” she says. Their hands touch and their fingers interlock.

He smiles fondly. “And your heart I will nurture as my own.”

~~~ Versus ~~~

He opened his eyes and his first thought was of her.

He jumped into his clothes and ran out the door, coffee and food be damned. The dew lay thick upon the grass. When he got to the field of flowers, just blooming in this bright spring morning, his pants became soaked as he swam through the wet leaves plucking blossoms of wild flowers, a billowing bouquet of yellows and blues.

She heard tapping on her window, tiny stones plinking off the glass. She turned in bed to stare out into April’s sunrise. A scuffle of sound came from outside and she caught sight of the top of his head peaking over the sill.

She hurried to free the latch and lift the sash. There he was, a total mess of hair and loose clothing. She cupped both his cheeks and bent to kiss him fully.

Wavering on the ladder he swung his arm up from behind his back and thrust the expanse of green stems and crazy flowers into her room.

She gasped as droplets of cold dew slipped down his fingers to splash off her bare feet. She gripped his hand in both of hers and took the bunch of cornflowers, daisies and queen-anne’s-lace from his fist. Her eyes blazed with wonder at the array of color and variety. They softened as she return to kiss him once again.

His purchase at the top of the ladder slipped and the thing fell out from under him. He lurched to grab the window frame.

She heard the clatter and froze to see him dangling. Dropping the bouquet, which exploded in disarray, she grabbed his arms and helped to pull him inside.

They fell back over the flowers, laughing with relief, kissing in passion.

~~~ Comparison ~~~

Which one will you remember?

The words or the actions?

Do actions speak louder than words?

Are words more powerful than actions?

Writer’s Log: 1400 what we remember

Update: I’m back on my first manuscript, Blue Across the Sea, rewriting it for self-publishing on Draft2Digital here soon. This story portrays a designed environment, a bucolic dis-utopian future set in the Great Basin (which is now the Bonneville Inland Sea). I had a great time writing it, but my skills were pitiful — and it shows now that I’m going back through it.

Incidentally, Shadow Shoals takes place in the same future time frame – but on the East Coast of the US. These stories are 200+ years post CME.


I sat and thought last weekend about stories and what we remember from them. What makes a story memorable? I’m struggling with trying to get the parts of a story balanced: plot, setting, conflict, events, characterization, and dialog. And I wondered if the things we remember about a story might help focus my emphasis. And here is one theory I came up with: What we remember are the people, settings and events.

In M.R. Carey’s The Girl with all the Gifts I remember the classroom, the chemical scrub, the gnashing of teeth at the sergeant’s arm, the girl strapped to the table about to get her brain removed, the escape from the facility, the bouncing trip in the HumVee, the use of a tiny girl as a lure, the grey wall of fungus.

Do I remember any dialog? No. I remember what happened, the events and the reactions, the suffocating thought of spores entering my lungs. The realization that this was the best representation of zombies ever.

I don’t remember anything anybody said. I recall the girl was super bright, and the teacher naive (no doubt communicated through dialog). But nothing specific.

There’s this YouTube ad, a grizzled writer (for a Masters Class I think) sits and talks, “I’ll a piece of paper, and a pen would be nice, and I’ll sit down and write some dialog.”

I imagine two friends stepping out from the theater after they saw that paper and pen dialog movie, they meet a third friend:

“So, what’d you think?”
“It was good.”
“Tell me about it.”
“Well, it was two people talking.”
“And what happened?”
“Nothing really. The man smoked a pipe. The woman drank coffee. They were both in their sixties.”
“Nothing happened?”
“They talked.”
“Okay. About what then?”
“Oh, life, love, this and that, I don’t really remember.”
“But it was good.”
“Yeah, but, no, nothing happened. Oh, wait, the guy made a mess with the ashes as he cleaned his pipe.”

We remember events and setting and situations and rarely what anybody said.

Dialog seems to represent the feel and packaging of a character. Dialog is the critical glue that holds story parts together. The parts might be good and memorable on their own, but how we get from scene to scene is people talking us through it.

Yet, we remember the parts and not the glue.

I’m sure there are exceptions, but, again, I’m seeking broad spectrum heuristics here that I can remember as general application rules.